July 14, 2021


Horseshoe Bend 04 05/18/2010 Oil Paint Rendered — Paige, Arizona
In any situation,
there is what we want to happen,
and there is what needs to be done.

Sometimes, what we want to happen
is what needs to be done.

Sometimes, not.

The most important thing 
in any situation
is what needs to be done.

Growing up is setting aside
what we want to happen
in favor of what needs to be done.

What we want has no necessary connection
with what we need to do.

Maturation is intentionally,
putting ourselves in right relation
to what needs to be done.

"This is the way things are,
and this is what can be done about it,
and that's that."

Maturation is sizing up our situation,
putting ourselves in accord with
what needs to be done there
and doing it.

Growing up some more again
is the solution to all of our problems today.
Every day.
We disappear problems like that (snaps fingers)
when we "get up and do what needs to be done."

What is your life asking of you
that you do not want to do?
What needs to be done
that you do not want to do?

It does not matter what we want!
It matters that we do what needs to be done,
when it needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done.

Making our peace with that--
and doing it--
is the key to the quality/ease
of the rest of our life.

My favorite definition of health,
mental or physical,
is "ease of functioning."

When we inhibit our own ease of functioning
by wanting what we want 
and now what we ought to want--
not what the situation is calling us to want
(or to do whether we want to or not)--
we work against our own health,
mental or physical.

Whose side are we on?
That is the question
we have to answer
in every situation 
where what we want
is clashing with
what needs to happen.

In those situations,
we are being asked
to do what needs to be done,
whether we want to or not.

Get that down and we have it made.



Black Bayou 15 11/02/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — Black Bayou National Wildlife Refuge, Monroe, Louisiana
All of my regrets,
and there be many,
stem from a lack of experience.

I did not know what I was doing.

We are going to fall a lot
learning to walk,
ride a bicycle, 
roller/ice skate,
snow/water ski...

We are going to fall a lot
waiting for experience to kick in.

Until it does,
it helps for us to say out loud,
to ourselves and anyone who may be listening,
"I'm just waiting for experience to kick in."

Until it does,
we are at the mercy
of luck and timing--
and if the time is not right,
it doesn't matter how much experience
we have.

Experience that does not take
timing into account
isn't enough experience.
Enough experience takes everything
into account.

And how old do we have to be
in order for that to happen?
This is my 77th July,
and it hasn't happened yet.

I regret things I did yesterday
because I failed to take everything
into account--
which would have helped 
with knowing when to speak
and when to remain silent.

I'm still waiting for experience
to kick in.

But, I'm doing better
than I once did.
Mostly because I don't get 
as many opportunities to screw up
these days.

Which is a big plus with aging.



Goodale 11/07/2016 Oil Paint Rendered — Adams Mill Pond, Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina
Energy transforms itself into matter
by using matter to make more matter.
Where did energy and the first matter
come from?
Same place God came from.
All of the first stuff is co-existent 
from the start.

It has always been.
And always will be.
The universe/cosmos has always
been coming and going.
That is one of the things
we have to take on faith.

Energy uses matter to make more matter
by taking a proton
and hurling it at another proton,
causing the protons to explode.

When a proton explodes--
correct me if I'm wrong--
it doesn't explode into fragments.
It explodes into protons.

Energy flies around creating matter like this.

Protons, when they aren't smashing into protons,
are attracting companions 
and setting up house,
and before we know it,
here we are.

All it took was a little time.

Anything can happen with enough time.

It's the old joke about
if you put a group of monkeys in a room 
with typewriters
they will eventually write Hamlet.

That is exactly what happened.
Only the monkeys had to create
a relative that created human beings
that invented typewriters
and produced Shakespeare.

With enough time, anything can happen.

All it takes is time and energy
and two protons.

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

2 thoughts on “July 14, 2021

  1. It sounds so easy, and sometimes is bit when I get trapped in wanting what I want, I could care less about what needs to be done! I want to go back to bed. There is a pallet of mulch bags that need to be spread out. Guess I am going to do that but I sure don’t have that positive,”yea” attitude about it. Going to work on being joyful about what needs to be done so I am not angry at having to do it all day… no fun in doing what needs to be done if we aren’t happy about it! Thanks, Jim…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The old Taoists recommend having no opinion about anything. That is, not wanting anything. “Have only preferences, not desires,” would be their advice. “Don’t push the river.” “Be a cork on the water.” “Let come what’s coming and let go what’s going.” Are about standing apart from our circumstances, and knowing what can and cannot be done about them, what is and is not helpful, what is prudent and what is imprudent, and going with what has the best chance for the best outcome, all things considered. “Chop wood, carry water, spread mulch…” enable us to “eat when hungry, rest when tired.” And having not much at stake and not much in the way of opinions in much of anything, helps maintain our balance and harmony through most of what comes our way.


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